Are you ready to start paying a premium to watch music videos on YouTube?
Don’t worry, it’s not compulsory, rather an optional extra in the form of Music Key, the company’s new ad-free subscription service that launches later this month and will allow users to find and play millions of songs.
And now Google Play Music ‘All Access’ subscribers have been told that they’ll get access to this new service – for the time being anyway.
So what is this new service likely to set you back and what will you get in return?
Well, after a free six-month trial period, which will cost Music Key customers around $8 per month, it will then rise to $10 per month – a price comparable with other music subscription services such as Spotify.
As well as being advert free, Music Key also will give its subscribers the ability to continue playing songs while the screens of mobile devices are locked. They can also download tracks so they can be played without an Internet connection – similar to iTunes. However, the offline music can only be played using Music Key’s mobile app.
Google acquired YouTube for $1.76 billion in 2006 in this venture is seen as a way of generating revenue form a website that was once seen as an outlet for pirated clips of music videos, TV shows and films.
But whether subscriptions alone will be able to match the estimated $7.2 billion which You Tube is estimated to generate in 2014 from adverts is debatable.
Even so, some of the world’s largest music labels including Universal, Sony and Warner have all have reached licensing deals with YouTube as part of the new subscription services with many more independent labels expected to follow suit.
Music Key will be offered on an invitation-only basis in the U.S., United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Ireland and Finland to begin with.
The first batch of offers will be sent out in the coming weeks to YouTube viewers with a history of watching a lot of music clips. But if you haven’t received an invite you can request one at YouTube.com/MusicKey.